Towers break through to the last 32

Basketball: London Towers 71 Podgorica 58
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The Independent Online
London Towers ground out a typically determined defensive performance to beat Podgorica of Yugoslavia 71-58 at Wembley last night to qualify for the knock-out stage of the European Cup, writes Richard Taylor.

Four wins and five defeats guarantees London fourth place in their group, and the final qualifying position, but they can climb to third next week if they win their final game in Hungary against Marc Kormend. They would then face an easier tie against Korpan Pojat, of Helsinki, but otherwise they will face Saratov Moscow in the last 32.

A ludicrous fixture jam, in which neither the Basketball League nor the English Basketball Association appeared willing to intervene, means that the Towers must immediately refocus on tonight's National Cup semi-final first leg against their London rivals, the Leopards.

The American Danny Lewis scored 27 points to steer Towers through a threatened second-half revival from Podgorica, who came back from trailing 44-27 at half-time to be just five points behind the Budweiser League champions.

But when Podgorica's Scepanovic fouled out with five minutes to play, one of three Yugoslavs to be permanently benched, their challenge faded.